Collaboration for the Community Service Building began at the level of Delaware’s top community funders. Representatives of the Longwood Foundation and DuPont Company’s Corporate Contributions Office met in 1993 to reflect on the way that major fund campaigns for facilities were handled due to the challenge that there was a constant flood of applicants for facility related capital projects and not all the needs could be met immediately by the current method of funding. This meeting is where benefits were clearly seen in funding a nonprofit center in Delaware.
After a search for property, Wilmington’s Montchanin building, a twelve-story office tower next to the former DuPont building in downtown Wilmington, was chosen. Parallel to the site acquisition process, nonprofit organizations were consulted to explore their interest in such a collaborative effort. Parking was identified early as a requirement for participation. Therefore, another property was chosen one block away to construct a new 473-space parking garage.
The Community Service Building Corporation spent approximately $24 million to purchase the two properties, renovate the building, and construct a new garage. Seven foundations, sixteen corporations and the State of Delaware funded the project with no debt.
The Community Service building opened on April 1, 1997. Today, it is fully occupied by 69 diverse, nonprofit organizations and is the nation’s largest multi-tenant nonprofit center.